I’ve found that standard blenders just don’t have the firepower to get the job done, so a quality machine is mandatory. Ramps (Allium tricoccum) are early springtime wild onions that are only in season for a few weeks.Foraged by native tribes in North America for centuries, ramps are a tasty mashup between onions and garlic. Simply remove a handful with the entire root structure intact and bring them home. If you can’t view the video below, just click here: How to Harvest Wild Leeks. Their Latin name is allium tricoccum but they're more commonly known as ramps, spring onions, ramsons, wild leeks, wild garlic, and, en Français, ail sauvage and ail des bois. Timothy takes us on a tour of his Leek filled Forest - and demonstrates proper harvesting. Always be careful when harvesting wild foods. Ramps taste like a milder garlic, or a more pungent onion—somewhere directly in between. Foraging is wonderful way to connect with nature. They’re foraged in the early spring, by people who happen to know a “secret” patch, usually somewhere on public land. Leeks grown to harvest over winter will usually go to flower as soon as the weather warms up in spring. Or, the leaves will be chewed up by critters and insects who also know the great flavor. Ontario is blessed with foragable wild foods for almost every season. Sometimes excess fertiliser can lead to bolting, so only nourish your leek beds with organic matter, applied the season before planting. Their Latin name is allium tricoccum but they're more commonly known as ramps, spring onions, ramsons, wild leeks, wild garlic, and, en Français, ail sauvage and ail des bois. Their amazing flavour and popularity comes at a great cost: over-harvesting is a serious problem and over the years they have suffered significant habitat loss. The smooth, elliptical-shaped leaves come up in the spring, making them very easy to spot in a forest. When buying from a supermarket or harvesting in your own garden, pick out leeks that are firm and smaller than 2.5 inches in diameter. And in Germany and Austria it is called Bärlauch, literally meaning Bear Leek. Pungent and sweet, ramps smell similar to onion, but not quite. Ramps transfer very well and will replant easily to populate your land. Similar in smell to onions, ramps represent one of the first signs that warmer weather has arrived to stay. More often than not, your “secret spot” is the secret spot of a dozen other people, and even if each of you try to harvest sustainably, those little ramps don’t stand a chance. Another popular method is using a knife to cut the bulb just above the root structure. Dig leeks any time after they are an inch or more in diameter, but leave them in the ground until you’re ready to use them. While they are very popular in Canada and northern US States, they also are known in other countries as wild spring onions, ramson and wood leeks. If you have a lot of leeks that can’t be stored in a refrigerator, you can freeze them. Mature leeks, unlike baby leeks… Purchase wild leeks from a reputable source that is open about where the leeks come from, who is picking and what they do to ensure their harvest is sustainable. I do the same thing for the fall garden. The least of which is definitely not Spring. Simply blanch the leaves for a few seconds in boiling, salted water then shock them in an ice bath to halt the leaves from cooking. Leek season is upon us and Northern Michigan forests throughout the region are filled with the scent of wild leeks, as well as people finding leeks and heading home to cook with leeks or freeze or store wild leeks. Share this: Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) Be careful not to damage neighboring plants. It also allows the plant to seed and does not disturb the soil. I like to vacuum seal the blanched leaves in small portions for later use. How to Harvest Leeks Digging leeks is easier than pulling. Pulling them out of heavy soil can injure the roots. How to Take a Leek in the Woods. Ramps often appear in small patches of sporadic plants, but sometimes they balloon out to a forest floor colony the size of a football field. 5 Easy, Sustainable Foraging Rules for Wild Leeks Wait until the plant is mature. Ensure the roots of the Leeks are planted into the mineral soil under the soft layer of leaves. These wild leeks are a type of wild-growing onion with a wonderful roasted garlic aroma found growing throughout the forest floor. The same goes for any wild plant or mushroom. The leaves, bulb, and even the roots can be used in recipes. The smell is a dead giveaway. It’s dangerous to have stopped cars along our windy cottage roads, there is likely residue from winter road salt in the soil making the plants not healthy to harvest, and you are likely on private land, which without permission is trespassing. Identifying Ramps Big bucks, land management, rut reports, and tips for the whitetail obsessed. For sensitive species like Wild Leeks I personally recommend not harvesting in high use public recreation areas as many other people may also be picking from these patches. Always be careful when harvesting wild foods. This soil contains dormant seeds. This allows the bulb and root to remain intact, allows the plant to flower, set seed, and does not disturb the soil. The most appropriate place for foraging is on private property. Newer Post →. Patches that are over harvested can take many, many years to recover. One of my personal favorites recipes is to jam a bunch of cleaned leaves into a Mason jar with some salt and let them ferment for a couple of weeks. I like to fill a couple of quart jars with the vinegar and add chopped ramp stems and leaves. You can also consider cultivating a ramp patch of your own. How to Find Ramps Step 2: The Great Pretender. They’re usually gone or inedible by early summer. Harvest leeks from loose soil by pulling them up. So, when you’re heading to your favorite trout stream or turkey hunting haunt this spring, make sure to keep your eyes peeled and nostrils flared. The smooth, elliptical-shaped leaves come up in the spring, making them very easy to spot in a forest. If unsure, crushing a leaf will tell you if it is a leek … Ramps are perennials and grow in groups with their scallion-like bulbs firmly rooted beneath the soil. Pick one mature leaf per plant; leaves taste just as good as the bulbs. Thinning out wild leeks can sometimes be advantageous by creating more space for newly germinating seeds. Like caramelized onions, they literally melt in your mouth as you eat them, but they take significantly less time to create.They taste fantastic as a steak topper, on pizzas instead of onions or folded into mashed potatoes. I like to focus on ways to process and store them in a manner that allows me to enjoy their unique flavor the entire year. The best and only time of year to locate this beauty is from the first warm days to the end of spring. Take only what you need, and use what you take. Harvesting And Storing Leeks. Ramps, or wild leeks (Allium tricoccum), were once relegated to growing in the wild, but this springtime vegetable is being grown in more and more vegetable gardens.They have a flavor that blends spring onions and garlic. Wild leeks need care when you harvest – once a leek is plucked from the ground, it will not grow back. A ramp’s smell is its tell-tale giveaway. Someone else will likely come along and discover it too. Generally during the month of May in Muskoka. A big thank you to Susan Oling (aka Mom) for her amazing photos found throughout this site. A similar looking plant, Lily-of-the-valley is a highly toxic common garden plant that can easily be mistaken for Wild Leeks. 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